WOF…Anne McCaffrey

Wow, I am completely behind the times.

I headed over to Writers of the Future to check out when the next contest would be and clicked on Contest Updates, only to learn, to my dismay and great sadness that Anne McCaffrey passed away last November.

Honestly, the woman was my hero, she really was.

It has taken me a while to believe in myself enough to really put myself out there and write – publicly through the blogs and to finish just one of the stories I’ve been carrying around in my head for so long.

Her Pern series was my first introduction to McCaffrey’s writing. Later I would delve into Doona, Acorna, Crystal Singer and so much more. What kept me coming back, however, was Pern.

Recently, I’ve thought of her as my inspiration in a literary sense. She was in her early 40s when Pern was first published, and this series, coupled with my love of reading it over and over, kept my hope in full focus. That I could write, as she did, that even at the age of 40 or older, I too could be a published author. The message, I guess, was that it wasn’t too late.

And as long as I’m still breathing, it’s never too late to write, to be published, to create that future I want so deeply.

Another thing that has always struck me about AM’s writing is the strong female characters. In a sense, she helped me believe I had that strength too. And all of my female characters show strength, resilience and resourcefulness. She was truly a pioneer in this powerful-woman-centric type writing, especially for sci-fi.

I’m really sad, though. She was a judge with WOF, and I can’t imagine a higher honor than placing in a contest where she was a judge.

I guess that losing out on that opportunity is the price I pay for not getting my poop in a pile quicker.

Lesson learned…and rest in peace, Anne McCaffrey.

p.s. It looks as if I have just over two months to get my entry in for the first quarter of 2012. Time to get to work!


I’m dead in the water.

My main hard drive died yesterday afternoon. Turns out the poor dear was over six years old. It held ALL of our photos, ALL of my documents, and lots more.

We are sending the drive for recovery, but it may take two weeks or more to get back in action again. And I have to wonder how much data will never be recovered…emails I’ve saved and/or sent…

And before you ask why I wouldn’t have everything backed up to another location…

We thought we did. Apparently that backup source, which was supposed to be automatic, did NOT perform to expectations. The only thing we have is some financial backups – and that’s nothing compared to the massive load of data that we had on my C drive.

Even Dave was taken by surprise. He didn’t think that the C drive contained all of our pictures and such.

What a mess.

It looks as if I won’t be entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest after all.


I can’t even work on the ONE story I had saved through online resources because I can’t access my Master Timeline. This just…sucks.

My Article on SurvivalBlog.com

Well, cool beans. I checked in on SurvivalBlog and discovered that an article I had submitted for an ongoing non-fiction writing contest has been posted. So I’m officially in the running for Round 39 prizes. It got me all excited. I’ve got at least two other pieces I want to write up and submit. He apparently runs these contests back to back and they have plenty of prizes.

More than anything, though, is the hope of exposure to the right people. Who will read the article? Who will link back to my website? Will they become a follower of either of my two main blogs? Will they buy my books? The more exposure I have, the more chances I have of success.

And having my article posted on the site is nothing to sneeze at when you think of the numbers of people who visit – 1.3 million of them in December alone.

Rock on…I’m just hoping for, say, 1% of those folks to head over in my direction…


Why does this make me want to cry?

“After awhile you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats with you head up and your eyes open.
With the grace of maturity, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on
Today because tommorow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And that you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn and learn ….
With every goodbye you learn.” Veronica A. Shoffstall

Pitches, Schmitch, Oh What A B…

I’ve fussed over them. I’ve sent them to my dad complaining that it felt like I was taking out my own wisdom teeth without any anesthetic…

Here they are in order. I think #4 is the winner, so you can skip down if you like…

Pitch #1:

In 2017, the United States, which has sunk into a deep economic depression, finally succumbs to the chaos of civil war. Two siblings are caught in the middle of a war, and they struggle to survive, to return to a home that may no longer even exist.

Meet Jess, fifteen, pregnant, and on the run. She will have to learn to survive by her wits and find a way to love the child growing within her. And she will do this while struggling to return home.

Meet Chris, eighteen, convinced his entire family is dead, and that he is truly alone in the world must create a new future for himself hundreds of miles from his hometown.

War’s End portrays the very worst and the very best that human nature has to offer in time of war. It confronts loss and death, while teaching of the birth of hope.


Pitch #2:

Jess, alone and pregnant, her brother Chris, conscripted by the Western Front. Two siblings separated by war, eventually believing the other is dead, must learn to survive in a nation ripped apart by economic chaos and civil war.

In the day after tomorrow, the United States is in chaos and fifteen-year-old Jess, and her eighteen-year-old brother Chris’s small Missouri town is invaded by the Western Front. Separated from their parents, separated from each other, they must rely on their own wits to survive and eventually escape.

Jess tries to head home while Chris, believing his sister, along with their parents, is dead, escapes to the south and east, into Tennessee. Follow their steps as the struggle to survive, suffer loss and heartbreak, and fight for a place in a new and dangerous world.

War’s End is a story of desperation and of hope, of loss and love, and the will to survive, no matter the odds.


Pitch #3:

Jacob asked me today about his father. I didn’t know what to say. I haven’t told him the truth. I love him so much, so very, very much. I look at him and I know exactly who his father is. How do I tell my son, who I love more than life itself, that his father is a monster? How do I tell him that if I ever see that man again that I’m going to kill him? So I lied. I told him his daddy died before I got to know him very well.” – Jess’s Journal

Faced with death and heart-wrenching loss, surrounded by a war not of their making, two siblings must fight for their freedom and learn to survive.

It is the day after tomorrow, and the United States has fallen into economic ruin and civil war. Their small Missouri town invaded, and Jess and Chris conscripted into the Western Front, the two siblings are separated from their parents and from each other.

Jess is fifteen, pregnant, and desperate to return home to Warsend. Her brother Chris is eighteen. Separated during their escape, Chris is convinced his sister is dead. Alone and without family to draw him home, he flees south and east, and befriends the Perdue family in Tennessee. Here he will find a second home, love, and face challenges of the heart as well as danger in his new home.

Jess struggles to survive in the forests, hiding from soldiers, learning to fish, hunt game, and forage for wild edibles, all while dreaming of returning home to her lost family. Jess must come to terms with her pregnancy, and what it will mean to be a mother of a baby she did not want or ask for.


Pitch #4:

Jacob asked me today about his father. I didn’t know what to say. I haven’t told him the truth. I love him so much, so very, very much. I look at him and I know exactly who his father is. How do I tell my son, who I love more than life itself, that his father is a monster? How do I tell him that if I ever see that man again that I’m going to kill him? So I lied. I told him his daddy died before I got to know him very well.” – Jess’s Journal

Fifteen-year-old Jess is pregnant and alone, running for her life, fighting to survive. The Western Front, invaded her home, tore her from her parents and ripped away her innocence. The country is in chaos due to economic collapse and civil war. Around every corner lurks the danger of the soldiers who are still hunting her. Jess must learn to defend herself, to hunt game, and find shelter in a desperate new world.

Can Jess bring herself to love the child growing inside her? How will she survive with a newborn? And will she ever be able to return home?

Set in the day after tomorrow, War’s End is a gritty tale of survival, hope and love, in the face of impossible odds.

Yeah, so that’s what I’ve got so far…

Writing…The PITCH

Really, how hard can it be to write a 300-word pitch?

Let’s just say it is causing me great angst.

Six years ago, when I first broke out of my self-imposed jail cell (i.e. quit my crappy inconsequential job and got a life), I had to write several bios for different things – one for a play I was in, one for a website I was designing – and eventually one in 2008 for my first book.

I agonized over them.

Nowadays, it is easy. I have a few funny things I like to say, like referring to myself as an auto-didact and malcontent, and more. I put a little summary of the indomitable me out there, brush my hands off and walk away, content with what I have written.

I tell myself that this is how my book pitches could be – if only I would just relax and let it happen. I remind myself that, eventually, a book pitch will be as easy for me as writing my bio is now.

But it baffles me, truly and completely. How do I summarize something that is so deeply a part of me that I cannot tell where it ends and my heart begins? It’s my first novel, for chrissake. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to believe in myself enough to allow it to actually be written?

Writing War’s End opened the floodgates to my writing. I kept writing, ran away from it too many times to count, came back, made up with it, ran away again. I wouldn’t write for months, sometimes years at a time, so lost in fear, besieged by a lack of self-esteem.

In a sense, War’s End is the story of my life. Tripping and falling, horrible life-changing events altering it, and in the end, my willingness to get up and try again is what got it done, along with changing my outlook on my writing in the process.

How can I set that to one side and simply pitch a book that changed my life? How do I set into words an emotion like that?

Exercise, What a Strange and Unusual Concept…

It’s almost seven in the morning and Emily just woke up (blankets fell off of the bed again). She ambled slowly downstairs and peered at my blearily, “Mama? What are you doing?”

And walking here on the treadmill for the first time in months I had to think hard for a moment, “It’s uh, it’s called exercise.”

Accepting this answer she was off to cuddle with her daddy for the rest of the ‘night’.

All I can say in my own defense is that I woke up this morning and thought, “You know, today would be a good day to start the day, and the year, off right with a little bit of exercise.”

But you know it has to be bad when your five-year-old can’t even remember the last time you walked on a treadmill…